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The Book Club

Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Taken from http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/the-league-of-extraordinary-gentlemen-book-cover.jpg.This is part of my “A Book A Week” endeavour, an extension of The Book Club I started on this blog when I was completing my National Service.

1. That film adaptation: It was the 2003 adventure film starring Sean Connery (and of course, Alan Moore’s work in comic books which I enjoyed) which got me interested in the comic book series, but there are vast differences between the two. In fact, the latter is much more sophisticated, and – in my opinion – covers more diverse themes, making for a fascinating read.

2. Rich characterisation: “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” is driven by a rich cast of characters, who feature in different works of fiction. For instance, from the books I have read, Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde are from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, while Captain Nemo is from “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea”. Even one of the antagonists, Professor James Moriarty, is a fictional character in the Sherlock Holmes canon, and together they feature in Volumes I and II.

3. Inspiration to read further: In this vein, one is therefore encouraged to read the other novels to find out more about the characters, such as Wilhelmina Harker from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. There is also interest because these characters retain traits from the original works of fiction, with further references to contemporary features or themes from other Victorian fiction.

4. Victorian references: Some of these other references in the first volume include Captain Nemo’s submarine the Nautilus, which the League uses to travel around for many of their assignments for the British government, the final confrontation between Professor Moriarty and detective Sherlock Holmes atop the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, while the retelling of H. G. Wells’s “The War of the Worlds” features in the second volume of the comic book series.

5. A straightforward but engaging plot. And while there are few surprises in both volumes (without giving away too much), with no doubt that the League – despite some setbacks or distractions – would be successful in its endeavours, the interactions between the characters make for an engaging read, and as a result create opportunities for both conflict and cooperation. This is especially so for the second volume, if one is familiar with Wells’s novel.

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.


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